Clarke calls for more

Steve Clarke said West Ham United need to start showing their true colours ahead of the intensive festive schedule following the 3-1 defeat at Bolton Wanderers.

Alessandro Diamanti's first goal for the club from open play had cancelled out Chung-Yong Lee's opener for the hosts and, just as the Hammers looked to be seizing control of the game, a lapse by Robert Green saw the ball drop at the feet of Ivan Klasnic to put the Trotters back in front. The visitors pushed forward but Gary Cahill's header with three minutes to go put the hosts out of reach.

"It is another disappointing night for us," Clarke said. "Its been a difficult time recently. Tonight sort of summed it up in a way. We got back in the game and looked in control and Robert's unfortunately made a mistake. It's something we couldn't come back from.

"When you're down there it's a nervous game. Bolton are a little bit more direct so they got more balls in the box. Unfortunately in the first half we couldn't impose our style of play on the game.

"We didn't pass the ball well enough. We changed things a bit at half-time and were much better in the second half and had much more control of the game. Unfortunately, as we've said a few times this season, it went away. "

Clarke, like manager Gianfranco Zola, is determined to put things right and has no time for excuses.

"You have to utilise the players you've got in the best way. We have a manager who likes to pass the ball and when I say aggressive, you have to be aggressive with the ball and impose your style of play on the game. First half we didn't do it, second half we did it much better. Unfortunately the game went away from us.

"I think if you start to rely on luck it will never come. We have to work harder, we have to be more aggressive, we have to play better, we have to cut out the mistakes and I think the harder you work the luckier you get and that's the philosophy we have to take."

Sunday's London derby with Chelsea at the Boleyn Ground is the perfect opportunity to put things right. Clarke, for one, thinks the match could provide the Hammers with the springboard they need for the rest of the season.

"I think its a great game for us. Nobody expects us to get anything and they have to go there and work as hard as they can. In football you never know. Because if you'd said Last week Wolves would go to Tottenham and get a result you would have laughed. Maybe it will happen for us this weekend. That's what we're hoping for."

Bolton's victory saw them leapfrog their guests and Clarke explained that everyone concerned is all too aware of the need to start picking up points.

"The feeling in the dressing room is that we know we're in a bad position, we know we haven't got enough points. The quicker we can get a win, the better. But we don't just need one, we need three, four, five wins.

"We're not stupid. We understand the situation and we're working as hard as we can to rectify it and at the moment it's not easy. We have confidence in the players, we have confidence in ourselves and we're sure we can get out of the bottom three."

Green could not hold Cahill's shot before Klasnic prodded in the rebound to put the hosts back in front just as West Ham were starting to take control. It was a rare handling mistake from the England international and his first-team coach was certainly not pointing any fingers.

"Football's all about mistakes. Rob will deal with it. He will recover. The best thing he can do is to go out against Chelsea on Sunday and have the game of his life. He has to respond and I'm sure he will.

"Robbo's done well for us, its been a difficult season. For various reasons we've not been able to play with the same defenders. We've always been mixing and matching. We defended quite well against Birmingham at the weekend. Unfortunately we lost the one goal and I thought we defended quite well.

"I thought the third puts a very unfair reflection on the game. We switched off at a set play towards the end. When you have young players in your team sometimes that happens.

"There are no problem with Robert. He's working as hard as he can to try and help the team. The best thing he can do for everybody especially himself is to have a great game on Sunday. "

Another sour note was the withdrawal of Kieron Dyer after 20 minutes during his second start of the season. But as a small consolation, Clarke revealed that the injury does not appear to be too serious.

"Unfortunately he felt a tightening of his hamstring. He came off and I just spoke to him. He said it wasn't a tear, it's another small pull. To be honest I'm just disappointed for the player. He's worked ever so hard to get himself in a position where he could start a game.

"He gives us something extra. He gives us experience, he's quick and he had one great run where he got through. That shows what Kieron Dyer can give to us. He's had some terrible knocks over the last couple of years. Hopefully he'll get himself right, he'll come back and next time stay in the team longer."

Regardless of off-field speculation, Clarke reiterated the management's desire to focus only on the task at hand and take responsibility. "If anyone's looking to blame, they'll have to blame me. I'm the guy they brought in to help Gianfranco. He's the novice manager, just in the game but if anyone wants to point fingers, point them at me."